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A Full Guide To Mulled Wine

Mulled wine, often hailed as a winter classic, is like a warm, spiced hug in a mug.

In this comprehensive A-Z guide to mulled wine, we’ll explore what mulled wine is, its various names, the best wine for mulling, and provide a step-by-step guide on how to create the perfect mulled wine.

We’ll also share our top recommended mulled wine recipes, discuss essential ingredients, offer tips for mulling success, and suggest serving ideas. Plus, we’ll provide an array of other warming holiday drinks to enjoy during the upcoming festive holiday season.

First, What Is Mulled Wine?

Mulled wine is a cozy, soul-soothing winter drink. It’s essentially red wine that’s been gently heated and infused with a captivating blend of cinnamon sticks, star anise, ground spices, and sweeteners.

This alchemical concoction transforms an ordinary glass of wine into a more fragrant, warm elixir that has been cherished during cold seasons for centuries. It’s a perfect companion for unwinding by the fireplace or adding a touch of festive cheer to holiday Thanksgiving or Christmas gatherings.

Are There Other Names for Mulled Wine?

While mulled wine is the most common name for this alcoholic drink, it goes by different names in various regions. In Germany, it’s known as Glühwein; in Scandinavia, Glögg.

These different names highlight the mulled wine’s widespread popularity and enduring appeal in many cold-weather countries globally.

What Wine is Best for Mulled Wine Festive Drink?

Selecting the right wine is crucial for crafting exceptional mulled wine. It’s the canvas upon which you’ll paint the rich tapestry of flavors that define this classic winter drink.


If you’re drawn to wines with a plush, velvety texture and a burst of ripe red fruit flavors, Merlot is your mulling muse. Its natural sweetness harmonizes beautifully with the spices and sweetness in your mulled wine recipe, creating a harmonious and approachable elixir that’s bound to please a crowd.

Cabernet Sauvignon

For those who prefer their mulled wine to have a robust, full-bodied character, Cabernet Sauvignon is the red wine of choice. Its deep, dark fruit notes, often laced with hints of black currant and a touch of oak, provide a sturdy foundation for the aromatic spices to work their magic.


If you seek a wine that’s bursting with berry-forward vibrancy and a dash of spice, Zinfandel is your go-to option. Its natural spiciness and bold fruit profile add a delightful twist to your mulled wine, making it an engaging and memorable choice for festive gatherings.

Each of the above wine varieties can bring its own unique personality to your homemade mulled wine recipe. The selection depends on your personal taste and the flavor profile you want to create in your mulled wine recipe.

Whether you opt for the supple Merlot, robust Cabernet Sauvignon, or spirited Zinfandel, you’re on the path to crafting mulled wine magic.

How To Make Mulled Wine? Our Best Mulled Wine recipe

Our best-mulled wine recipe unveils the secrets to crafting a perfect, soul-warming concoction. A symphony of spices and sweeteners transforms this classic beverage into a steaming elixir of delight. Here, we offer not one but two delicious recipes for making mulled wine. Those can suit different palates and moods – one with apple juice and another with orange juice.

Mulled Wine with Apple Juice


  • 1 bottle of red wine (Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon works wonderfully)
  • 1 cup of apple juice
  • 1/4 cup of honey
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 cloves
  • 2 star anise pods
  • 1 orange (sliced)
  • 1 apple (sliced)


  1. Combine the red wine, apple juice, and honey in a large saucepan. Heat over low-medium heat, avoiding boiling
  2. Add the cinnamon sticks, cloves, and star anise pods to the hot wine and stir gently.
  3. Add the orange and apple slices. Continue to simmer for about 20 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld.
  4. Remove from heat and strain the mulled wine into mugs or heatproof glasses.
  5. Garnish with additional orange or apple slices if desired. Serve warm.

Mulled Wine with Orange Juice


  • 1 bottle of red wine (Zinfandel is a great choice)
  • 1 cup of orange juice
  • 1/4 cup of brown sugar (or maple syrup)
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 whole allspice berries
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 orange (sliced)


  1. Combine the red wine, orange juice, and brown sugar in a large saucepan. Warm over low-medium heat, avoiding boiling.
  2. Add the cinnamon sticks, allspice berries, and cloves. Stir gently.
  3. Add the orange slices and let the mixture simmer for approximately 15-20 minutes, allowing the aromas to meld.
  4. Remove from heat and strain the mulled wine into mugs or heatproof glasses.
  5. You can garnish with extra orange slices for an extra visual touch. Serve it while it’s warm and inviting.

For both recipes, you can also use a slow cooker, as follows:

  1. Pour the red wine and juice into your slow cooker.
  2. Stir in all the spices and fruits.
  3. Set your slow cooker to the “low” heat setting and gently heat the mulled wine for about 1-2 hours. The low heat setting prevents boiling and helps the flavors meld.
  4. It’s ready to serve once your mulled wine is steaming and aromatic. Ladle it into heatproof glasses or mugs.
  5. You can garnish with extra orange or apple slices for an added visual and flavor boost.

This slow cooker mulled wine recipe is perfect for effortless entertaining during the holidays. It keeps your mulled wine warm for longer, ensuring you and your guests can enjoy the delightful warm spiced wine during a festive holiday event.

Can You Make Mulled Wine From White Wine?

Yes, you can make mulled wine from white wine. While red wine is the traditional choice for drinking mulled wine, white mulled wine, often referred to as “white mulled wine” or “Gluhwein,” is an excellent alternative. The process is quite similar, with a few adjustments to complement the flavor profile of white wine:

Ingredients for White Mulled Wine:

  • 1 bottle of white wine (dry or semi-dry, like Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay)
  • 1/4 cup of honey or sugar
  • 1 cup of apple cider
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 cloves
  • 2 star anise pods
  • 1 sliced fresh orange
  • 1 sliced lemon
  • Lemon zest or orange zest for garnish


  1. Pour the white wine into a saucepan.
  2. Add honey or sugar for sweetness.
  3. Place the cinnamon, cloves, and star anise pods in the saucepan.
  4. Add the slices of orange and lemon.
  5. Warm the mixture over low-medium heat, avoiding boiling. Simmer for about 15-20 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld.
  6. Remove from heat and strain the white mulled wine into mugs or heatproof glasses.
  7. Garnish with extra orange or lemon slices if desired. Serve it while it’s warm and inviting.

10 Common Mulled Wine Ingredients

Making mulled spiced wine is like crafting a cozy winter potion, and it relies on a special mix of ingredients to get that warm, spiced hug in a mug just right.

Here are the most common and basic ingredients:

Red Wine: A bold and fruity red wine, like a friendly Merlot, Zinfandel, or Cabernet, sets the stage for a perfect mulled wine. You really don’t have to use a super expensive wine to make a great mulled wine!

Warming Spices: Think cinnamon, cloves, star anise, and other whole spices. They’re the mulling spices squad that gives mulled wine its aromatic charm.

Sweetener: A bit of honey, sugar syrup, or brown sugar sweetens the deal, taming the spiciness.

Citrus Fruits: Oranges, lemons, or their zest add a zingy twist.

Extra Fruit: Sliced apples or cranberries, throw in some fruity fun.

Nutmeg: Grated nutmeg adds a dash of earthy warmth.

Vanilla: A drop of vanilla extract or a vanilla bean keeps things creamy.

More Spices: Allspice, cardamom pods, or ginger can jazz up the mix.

Extra Alcohol: Brandy, orange liqueur, or rum for an extra kick (if you’re in the mood).

Heat: A gentle warming (on the stove, in a slow cooker, or in the microwave) lets the flavors mingle, transforming your brew into the perfect winter drink.

Mulled Wine Serving Suggestions

The art of serving mulled wine, especially for a holiday gathering, extends beyond the brew or making itself. When presenting this delightful drink, opt for heatproof glass mugs or elegant stemmed glasses, which not only showcase the wine’s rich hue but also allow your guests to savor the aromatic nuances of the drink.

Garnish is another key element. A simple orange slice, floating cinnamon stick, or star anise not only adds a burst of color but also enhances the fragrance. For a touch of elegance, consider rimming the glasses with brown sugar, creating a sweet contrast to the wine and mulled spices with each sip.

When hosting a gathering, or even when having a cozy night, keep the mulled wine warm with a slow cooker or a thermos, ensuring that everyone enjoys its comforting embrace. Whether it’s a cozy evening by the fireplace or a festive holiday season celebration, these serving suggestions enhance the warmth and charm of mulled wine.

More Warming Holiday Drinks to Enjoy

there are certainly more options when it comes to warming holiday drinks to add a touch of magic to your seasonal celebrations, providing a delightful contrast to the chilly weather and enhancing the festive spirit. Two of our top favorites are hot buttered rum, hot cranberry apple cider, and Irish coffee

Hot Buttered Rum

Hot buttered rum is a rich, comforting holiday classic. To make this indulgent drink, combine dark rum with hot water and a special “batter” made from butter, brown sugar, and a blend of spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. The result is a creamy, warmly spiced concoction that’s perfect for sipping by the fire on a chilly winter evening. Garnish with a cinnamon stick or a dollop of whipped cream for an extra touch of decadence.

Irish Coffee

Irish coffee combines the best of both worlds: the warmth of freshly brewed coffee and the comforting kick of Irish whiskey. To make this beloved drink, simply pour hot coffee into a mug, add a shot of Irish whiskey, and sweeten to taste. Top it off with a layer of lightly whipped cream, and your Irish coffee is ready to enjoy. It’s a delightful way to keep cozy during the holidays, especially after a festive meal.

Hot Cranberry Apple cider

Cranberry apple cider combines the tangy zing of fresh cranberries or cranberry juice with the comforting sweetness of apple cider and the warmth of seasonal spices. It’s the perfect holiday drink for a chilly evening, and the touch of rum or bourbon adds an extra layer of coziness for those looking to infuse a little holiday spirit into

Best Mulled Wine & Food Pairings

The warm and aromatic embrace of mulled wine pairs beautifully with a range of dishes, enhancing the flavors and creating a memorable experience. Whether you’re enjoying a festive meal or a cozy evening by the fireplace, these pairings offer a delightful balance of flavors and textures, adding a touch of warmth and sophistication to your winter celebrations.

Elevate your winter gatherings with these top 5 mulled wine and food pairings:

Spiced Roast Turkey: The fruity and aromatic notes of mulled wine complement the savory richness of a spiced roast turkey. The warmth of spices like paprika, Cayan pepper, black pepper, and garlic powder in the flavorful meat blends beautifully with the warming beverage.

Cheese Platter: A classic cheese platter, featuring a variety of cheeses like Brie, Gouda, and Camembert, pairs wonderfully with mulled wine.

The wine’s sweetness and spices provide a delightful contrast to the cheese’s creamy and savory goodness.

Gingerbread or Spice Cake: For a sweet pairing, serve mulled wine with gingerbread or spice cake. The spices in the cake echo those in the wine, creating a harmonious and indulgent combination.

Dark Chocolate: The dark, slightly bitter notes of chocolate are a fantastic match for mulled wine. The wine’s sweetness complements the chocolate, while its spices add depth to the flavor.

Roasted Nuts: Roasted nuts, like almonds or cashews, bring a satisfying crunch to the table. The wine’s warm and spiced profile enhances the nuttiness, making for a cozy and comforting pairing.

Final Notes

In conclusion, mulled homemade spiced wine is more than just a beverage; it’s a tradition, a cozy comfort for the holiday season.

Armed with this comprehensive guide, you’re well-equipped to embark on a mulling adventure, creating memories and delightful sips that will warm your heart for years to come. Cheers to the art of mulled wine!

If you wish to learn more about different aspects of the wine world or the best wine clubs to join in diversifying your wine experience, check out our Blog!

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